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Sex workers…have the most deeply honed knowledge and practice of ethical principles…of any profession.  –  Pamela Gawler-Wright

So Close and Yet So Far

I support sex workers, just not those dirty whores“:

…Nikeisah Newton…started a food delivery service named Meals 4 Heels catering for [sic] strippers, bouncers and dominatrixes in need of a home-cooked supper late at night…in Portland [Oregon]…”I have so many friends who are bouncers and dominatrixes, sex workers and dancers.  Sex work is stigmatised and looked down upon and demonised”…

Apparently, it’s OK to ignore escorts while pretending that bouncers are sex workers (which they obviously aren’t).  And lest you feel inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt by assuming she only caters to strip clubs, I must point out that dommes don’t work in them.

Paint By Numbers

Have you noticed we don’t see as many dumb “anti-trafficking” stunts as we used to?

The [Los Angeles] Angels [baseball]…team held their annual event to [disseminate harmful propaganda] about…sex [workers]…First baseman …Albert Pujols and his wife Deidre kicked off [sic] their third annual “Strike Out Slavery”…evening…to bring [cops and rescue industry promoters] together [with gullible] people…The Pujols’ [sic] are hoping to eventually expand the “Strike Out” program to all 30 Major League stadiums…

Maybe they’re trying to head off “sex trafficking” fetishists extending the “Super Bowl sex trafficking” idiocy to the World Series.

Rotting Fruit

When moral panic and yellow journalism intersect, the result is lurid fantasy without limit:

A woman who said she was repeatedly raped by Jeffrey Epstein desperately tried to swim through shark-infested waters to escape his clutches…Sarah Ransome said she was so determined to escape Little St. James…she was willing to gamble her life in the Caribbean waters…Ransome [said she] jump[ed] on a quad bike to flee…but…was spotted on surveillance cameras…and was quickly stopped by…staff…Ransome went on to become one of the key accusers who helped expose Epstein’s depravity…eventually settling [a lawsuit] with [him] in 2018 over her accusations that he kept her as a sex slave…

The way that thoughts about swimming became “desperately tried to swim through shark-infested waters to escape his clutches” is a good example of how actual events are inflated into torture porn.

Doubling Down

Another explosion of mathematically-imbecilic prohibitionist vomit from “One Hand” Kristof:

…the problem isn’t one tycoon but many tens of thousands of men [including Kristof] who pay for sex with underage girls across the country.  And society as a whole reacts with the same indifference that the authorities showed in the Epstein scandal…If we want to channel our outrage at the Epstein case in a productive way, we could: A) ramp up prosecution of [sex workers’ friends, family and support networks]; B) p[er]secute [clients so as to throttle sex workers’ income]; C) [infantilize sex workers by defining them as “victims” no matter what they say about their own lives]; and D) [dump more money into violent policing and]…predator[y “rescue” organization]s…some 40 million people are effectively locked into modern forms of slavery, according to the Global Slavery Index…In the United States, no one knows exactly how many children are sold for sex, but estimates have run [up to]…100,000 in any given year…

I reckon Kristof feels it’s been long enough since his enabling of a massive “rescue” scam was exposed to safely begin profiting from “sex trafficking” hysteria again.  If you’re unable to recognize just how absurd Kristof’s claims are, please click on the embedded links, especially that last one.

All-Purpose Excuse (#608)

If the government has its way, phone privacy will soon be gone completely:

…Israeli cybersecurity company Cellebrite is courting new scrutiny after signing on to a new agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to help the organization hack more phones…Cellebrite’s equipment…is able to bypass security settings and access data on locked smartphones…the agreement is worth between $30 and $35 million, a huge step from the previous $2.2 million contract between the two entities…border agents have, without warrants, been searching the phones of travelers — including U.S. citizens —through U.S. borders, something that …violates the constitution…U.S. Customs and Border Protection searched more than 30,000 devices in 2017…

The Real World

Anti-whore stigma also harms sex workers who want to become therapists:

Sex work and therapy, or transitioning from one to the other, appears to be a well-trodden path…It’s not hard to understand why.  The professions have transferable skills – active listening, empathy – and since the cost of therapy training runs so high (around £20,000, often more) with very few funding options available, sex work is one option for those who would otherwise find themselves financially excluded.  While barring sex workers from therapy training is not usually explicit in policy, social stigma and institutionalised discrimination are still felt hard by those attempting to break into the field…

The War Goes On (#867) 

The government has announced its new post-Backpage bogeymen:

…U.S. [pigs and spooks from] the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are looking into whether [they can use “sex trafficking” fantasies to loot and destroy] three websites that make money off of escort ads and user-generated prostitution reviews …Rubmaps.ch…EroticMonkey.ch…and…Eros.com…[have] ties to David Azzato, a Swiss businessman convicted in France in 2011 for running a network of escort sites…the three sites in question were among those that most benefited from Backpage’s removal…while Azzato has denied any current connection to the sites…the [government apparently plans to make him the fall guy]…

I’ve been saying that Rubmaps would be the next prohibitionist bogeyman for over a year and a half now, and Eros’ US call center was raided by the feds two years ago and they’ve been frantically trying to cover their collective arse ever since.  As for Erotic Monkey, it appears to have started as a scraper site, stealing ads from other sites in order to trick escorts into paying for more ads; it also features reviews, mostly apparently falsified, and appears to be owned by the current owner of Eros (whether that’s Azzato or someone else).  My advice?  It’s time to move to Slixa, Tryst and Have We Met?

Business As Usual (#905)

Ohio moves to punish sex workers for outing rapist cops:

A three-day [pig deception scheme persecuted] 104 people [for desiring consensual sex with other adults]…“Here’s the message: [let cops rape you like good girls and we’ll leave you alone],” said Dave Yost, the attorney general.  The [vengeance] effort focused on [the Columbus] Ohio area]…“In ten minutes, I can [rape] a victim, go on the internet, [download copies of her ad as “evidence”] and then [get away with it],” said [vice pig] Mark Rapp…43 women[‘s lives were ruined before forcing them into a state “re-education” scheme]…

Think of the Children! (#967)

Funny how the rescue industry isn’t afraid to take “sex ray”-contaminated money:

No university or charity or scientific society has been more closely associated in the public eye with Jeffrey Epstein than Harvard University, which received approximately $9 million from him over the years.  And no organization has seemingly been more adamant that it had nothing to explain, nothing to review, nothing to refund — even after Epstein later became the nation’s most notorious sexual predator…After refusing to comment for months on its past associations with Epstein and the money it collected as a result, Harvard released a letter from its president…stating that the school had opened a review into the matter…two sets of Epstein funds, totaling $186,000, were still being put to use through the school’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and that it would be redirecting those funds “to organizations that support victims of human trafficking and sexual assault”…

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For years, Washington, Arizona and Texas were the most consistently-outlandish sources of “sex trafficking” nonsense; other states of course produced their share, but whenever one encountered a truly bat-shit crazy pronouncement about numbers, supposed “pimp” methods or the like, it was a safe bet it came from one of those three states.  More recently, Florida has striven to win the same reputation in “sex trafficking” lunacy as it already has in individual behavioral lunacy, but in the past year Alabama appears to be trying to make up for lost time with some truly ludicrous claims.  Almost exactly a year ago, fetishists at the University of Alabama claimed that in 2017 cops had…

…recovered more than 600 human trafficking victims stuck in the sex industry…more than half of them were minors, and that’s only about 10 percent of the victims actually out there, [sic] Stats show there are thousands more still suffering in Alabama…

These mysterious “stats” appear again in a recent article from Alabama Public Radio, along with a lot of other whoppers and statements that are moronic even by “sex trafficking” standards.  Here’s a curated selection:

Selling people for sex or underpaid labor is considered a $150 billion business worldwide.

That figure seems to come from the personal spank-bank of “sex trafficking” profiteer Siddharth Kara, who correctly points out that it’s “more than Nike, Google, and Starbucks combined”.  The far lower claim of $13 billion was debunked four years ago by Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post‘s fact-checker, who called it “a fantasy, unconnected to any real data“, but since then we’ve seen Kara’s $150 billion fantasy popping up in tragedy porn, copaganda, rescue industry sales pitches, ambulance-chaser come-ons, politicians’ power grabs, a shockingly-bad Atlantic article, and – as you had probably guessed – previous tall tales from Alabama.

The phrase “what I want from you” is one you hear a lot from survivors of human trafficking. It’s like a code that means you’re about to enter “the life.”  That’s code too, for the world of commercial sex.

“Sex trafficking” fetishists often use the word “code”.  However, as Inigo Montoya would observe…

Human trafficking isn’t limited just to women. Both men and boys are abused, as well as members of Alabama’s LGBTQ community.  “Most of our kids identify as bisexual.  And, that’s because they’ve been sold to this person or that person, males and females.  So, they don’t know what their gender is,” said Lynn Caffery, Executive Director of the shelter Safe Harbor Youth in Huntsville…

This is so deeply stupid and so incredibly bigoted that I can’t be entirely sure, but it seems to me that Caffery is confusing bisexuality with being transgender, pretending that gender confusion is the result of bisexual experiences, and claiming that bisexuality is caused by “sex trafficking”, all at the same time.  Of course, it could be something even stupider and uglier, but I’m going to go with my initial interpretation for now.

Cybercrime analysts in Birmingham study sex traffickers when they advertise on the internet in Alabama.  This data can track sex workers who live in Alabama, and those who travel into the state like a caravan.

A gypsy whore caravan, obviously!

“So, if I can find five girls who are in Atlanta on Monday, and Birmingham on Tuesday, and Chattanooga on Wednesday, that’s something we would consider a strong indicator of trafficking,” said Gary Warner…of the UAB Computer Forensics Research Lab in Birmingham…

Because as any good “anti-trafficker” will tell you, women are much too stupid to drive, make other travel arrangements or book hotels, therefore a woman’s visiting multiple cities I could easily drive between in an afternoon is “a strong indicator of trafficking”.  But our unbelievably-credulous “journalist” has saved the most shockingly-dumb claims for the end:

Christiam Lim…[of] The University of Alabama’s College of Social Work [seems to have forgotten the number he quoted last year, or at least hopes we will.  He now claims]…nearly 1,200 victims [instead of 600, and added]…“Clearly whatever we recovering [sic] is a smaller percentage of what’s happening”…some [sexual fantasies] put the real figure at 10 times higher…closer to 12,000, just in Alabama in 2017…the College of Social Work found another number that could give an even clearer picture of trafficking in Alabama.  It’s based on when traffickers come out in the open and advertise on the internet.  Two years ago, the college counted those ads and the total was 641,000, just in Alabama, just in 2017…

Obviously, anyone with greater cognitive ability than the average barnyard fowl could understand that because any given business might post hundreds or even thousands of ads across all platforms in a year, the number of ads has no direct correlation with the number of businesses (nor is there any dependable way to derive the latter figure from the former even if it were accurate, and I sincerely doubt it is).  However, it’s much more exciting to pretend that roughly 13% of the state’s population consists of “sex slaves”; I only wish such incredible idiocy were confined to Alabama.

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Today is Friday the Thirteenth, which as long-time readers know is the day I ask non-sex workers to stand up for our rights.  This is not the first such occasion since the passage of FOSTA, but it’s the first one in 14 months (though we’ll see another in December, as is the case every time we get one in September), and it’s the first one since the topic became politically “safe” for the cowards who want to be called “leaders” to bring up in public.  The latter point is, I think, extremely important; one of the reasons so many outside the demimonde are afraid to stand up for the obvious fact that the government has no business “regulating” private sexual arrangements is they’re afraid of guilt by association.  And this is by no means a foolish dread, because prohibitionists absolutely will not hesitate to accuse any woman who defends sex worker rights of being a whore herself, and any man who defends them of being a client.  But now that even the hang-to-the-rear political crowd is talking about it, the prohis have only got so many fingers to point; anyone who wants to help but is still shy can share any number of pro-decrim articles in major media outlets.  There are plenty of ideas on how you can help in previous columns for this occasion, and I strongly encourage you to look at those.  But as usual, the best way you can help, better than any other, is money.  As I wrote last year, “donate to SWOP-USA, to SWOP Behind Bars, to the EFF or Woodhull Foundation to support their anti-FOSTA lawsuit, to individual activists (because traveling around the country to do this work is much more expensive than you might think), or to sex workers who have been harmed by increasing censorship of our ads.”  This is especially critical because, as you may have noticed, the orange-utang’s deranged trade war has already caused enough damage to the economy that bookings are falling and sex workers are getting worried.  As I’ve explained before, election years are always bad for business, and any old-timer like me can tell you that election years in a bad economy can be devastating.  Add to that the advertising chaos caused by FOSTA and the wanton destruction of Backpage, and the climate of fear among clients engendered by constant and ever-intensifying pogroms, and we have a recipe for what could possibly be the worst year for sex workers in the 35 that I’ve been paying attention to it.  As I wrote in “Straight Talk“,

I understand you may be nervous about the political situation; well, we are too.  And if you profess to care about us, you need to step up and be generous.  So, book a session with your ATF.  Book one with a lady you know has kids.  Book one with a lady you like, but haven’t seen in a while.  Book with a male escort you’ve been wanting to see.  Book with a domme or FBSM pro you’ve had your eye on.  Book with me or any of the other sex workers you see me interact with online…If you don’t have time to book but still want to help, most sex workers have PayPal or Patreon or some such you can use to give them a monetary token of appreciation.  Because there isn’t a single one of us who won’t be grateful for it right now.

As I’ve often pointed out, we are winning in the court of public opinion.  But that takes time, and we’re now in the “getting worse before it gets better” stage.  So if the sex workers you care about and the activists you admire are going to make it through to the end, we’re going to need your help in every way you can give it.

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Remember the special edition Ladies of the Night with a unique hand-drawn sketch by Chester Brown, signed by both Chester and me?  Well, there’s now only one left!  It’s #6 in the edition, featuring the sketch shown here, and it’s available in my store until it’s sold.  So if you want one, this is your last chance and I wouldn’t wait much longer!  While you’re in the store, you might consider buying an autographed copy of one or both books, assuming you don’t already have one.  I’m also going to start selling The War on Whores DVDs there soon, and if you can help with my fundraiser it might speed up the process of generating more buzz about this important documentary.

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We serve a high-quality hamburger with no additives or fillers.
–  Dairy Queen

I’ve been fascinated by recursion and surrealism ever since I was child, so it’s no surprise I love this video, suggested by Clarissa.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Kevin Wilson, Tim Cushing, Popehat, Radley Balko, and Jesse Walker again, in that order.

From the Archives

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As a sex-positive professional offering accounting, financial planning, business services or the like, what is the best way to communicate with and obtain SW clients?  I’m a regular client myself and I’m in the process of building a website, but how can I attract sex workers to that site?

Well, I’m going to be honest with you:  providing professional services like accounting for sex workers when you’re male is an uphill climb.  Unfortunately, too many professional guys will try to turn a sex worker client into a trade situation when that isn’t what she wants, or in some cases even use the info for soft extortion; even when they don’t do that they sometimes make pervy comments & creepy innuendoes, so a lot of sex workers are understandably wary.  I think the best way to begin would be to start a Twitter account with your business name (make sure it’s clear what kind of services you offer) and put the link to your website in the bio.  Then follow as many sex workers as possible and keep retweeting a lot of sex-work-positive stuff from them; eventually a few sex workers are bound to approach you, and you can be sure to give great and discreet service and avoid the no-go behaviors I mentioned above.  Once you have some satisfied customers, they will undoubtedly recommend you to their friends, and then you’ll be on your way; it’s getting your foot in the door in the first place that’s the tricky part.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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With the departure of the Dog Days and the return of American urchins to their State Indoctrination Centers, my life is likely to get a bit easier.  Of course the shortening & darkening of the days is a big part of that, but since I started flying again three years ago there’s another factor:  the end of vacation season and thus a lessening of the number of ridiculously-overcrowded flights.  Normally, I get first class about a third of the time and it’s pretty rare that I get boarded at the last minute, but during the summer the flights are so packed and the scheduling so volatile that it’s rare I even get assigned a seat until the last minute, and I often get bumped from flights entirely (remember when I couldn’t even get to Florida at all?)  So I’ve been loath to schedule any more movie screenings until the beginning of September, and now here we are!  We’ve already got an event on the books for September 26th at the Reason Magazine offices in DC; that trip should be more flexible, so if you’d like to see me while I’m in the area it can probably be arranged.  I must also point out that if you’re not in DC, but a lot closer to it than to Seattle, only my travel time from DC counts against your minimum; in other words, if you’re just two hours from there you could see me for the cost of a dinner date instead of having to spring for an overnight (see how helpful I am when I wanna be?)  We’re also looking at screenings in Toronto and Austin, and I’m looking for an excuse to visit New Orleans at some point this autumn.  So if you can help with any of those, or want to schedule an appointment, or want to help arrange a screening in a different city, just email me.  And if you just want to help me with promoting the movie, my fundraiser is still open!

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